There’s no shortage of opportunity for travel nurses, but in an increasingly competitive landscape, travel nurses will need to market themselves. By now, the secret’s out. Travel nursing, on average, pays more. Contract lengths are short and flexible. There are seemingly bonuses everywhere. And the opportunity to explore the country is seldom more accessible.
With so many nurses now opting for travel opportunities, it’s imperative to ensure your travel nursing resume emphasizes things most sought by hiring managers. After all, you don’t want to go just anywhere. You may already have a location in mind. Chances are, it’s the same location hundreds of other travel nurses want, so the competition can be intense.
But years of providing quality travel nurses to hospital networks across the country has allowed us to really understand what clients are looking for. The following is brief list of tips to help your resume stand out:
1. Make all licenses and and certifications visible. By burying these in the depths of the resume, you’re just blending in with all the other candidates. There is no guarantee how much of your resume is actually read – remember, HR is getting hundreds of resumes for popular destinations. You worked hard to gain the licenses and certifications that you have – don’t be shy about it. Make them visible and immediately improve your stock.
2. Include ALL of your work history, including early volunteer work. Quite often, and especially when dealing with seasoned travelers, nurses will consider their early experience irrelevant and may omit these from their resume. In our experience, this is a huge mistake. Even time spent volunteering in a certain ward or wing of a hospital could be the separator between you and a similar candidate. You have no idea what you’re up against, so be sure your resume is telling your entire story.
3. Your Header Must Pop. The header is the first thing any hiring manager is going to see, and unlike the rest of the resume that will follow some traditional format, this is an opportunity to get creative. Experiment with fonts, alignments and size. The internet is a great resource for finding examples of attractive headers. And while design and aesthetics are sure to separate you from competition, be sure to refer to point No. 1 and include those licenses and degrees!
4. Less is More. Hiring managers everywhere appreciate brevity. Don’t submit them a novel detailing your experience. Just put yourself in their shoes for a second. You have hundreds of resumes to sift through – how likely are you to read a three page resume featuring mountains of text opposed to a clean concise resume that’s easy to digest? Point No. 2 does say to include all of your work history, and you should, but keep it concise. Your experience should be listed in a succinct but clear format. If you used a certain system, name it. Popular EHRs/EMRs like Epic or Meditech, list it.
Have you worked for multiple travel agencies? It’s not an issue. Just list the agency and a few bullets beneath it detailing your experience. Do that for each and keep the format the same.
5. Emphasize Specialties, Bed Count, and Facility Size. Your specialties should be clearly stated along with the number of years you have working in them. It’s not a bad idea to include this information early in the resume, before the detailed work experience. If the facilities you’ve worked in include educational or training facilities, be sure to mention this. Your goal is to present yourself and your experience in the most reader-friendly way possible. Hiring managers also like to see the number of beds in the unit and the total number of beds at the facility. They are looking to see if you are a good fit for their work environment and these stats are key.
Unsure if your resume holds up? Ask a travel nursing staffing company. They’ll obviously be more than happy to hear from you and can let you know if your resume is going get the attention of the hiring managers at the destination you want.
Finally, read it for yourself. Do you find yourself skimming or nodding off while reading your own travel nursing resume? If you can’t get excited reading your own accomplishments, how can you expect a hiring manager’s reaction to be any different?